​​Hassan Fathy believed in the social responsibility of the architect and acted accordingly throughout his life. He invested all of the money he. Architecture for the Poor describes Hassan Fathy’s plan for building the village of New Gourna, near Luxor, Egypt, without the use of more modern and. Hassan Fathy: Egypt’s architect of the poor. Fathy believed architecture was for the people. He designed houses to meet the needs of the.

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He invested all of the money he earned designing luxury villas for rich clients in buildings and villages for poor fellahs. Those were the clients he was truly committed to.

Architects should be serving this client, but architects are not interested in these poor people. It is like the barefoot doctors in China; the poor also need ‘barefoot’ architects. Fathy, who was born in Alexandria in and died inwas Egypt’s most important architect of the 20th century. He is hardly known outside of Egypt and was unpopular in his native country throughout his life. But more than 15 years after his death, those who knew him still speak rapturously of his charisma and of the sensuality of his architecture.

Fathy’s buildings are constructed almost exclusively of clay. Their architectural forms have a sculptural beauty, and feature walkable roofs, cosy inner courtyards and delicate sun screens. European observers of Fathy’s architecture are, above all, fascinated by the abstract overall form of the buildings, which seems disturbingly exotic. The use of clay allows for soft contours and gently oscillating lines that have a sensual attraction.

Architecture Misfit #8: Hassan Fathy

These are founded in Fathy’s belief that, arcgitecture straight line is the line of duty, while the curve is the path of beauty. One of his most spectacular project villages, New Gourna, follows that path.

Its strict geometric plan is broken by gently curving streets and sloping alleyways. They create a tension that leads one to continuously new viewpoints while strolling through the village. Their principles had been forgotten; not until he was aided by Nubian master builders did Fathy succeed in creating a renaissance in archway and cupola construction rachitecture, which he first tested in projects in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India and Greece.

One of his most impressive clay villages, from both an architectural and social standpoint, is Dar al-Islam Village, which was created in New Mexico, USA in This low-lying village with its breath-taking mountain backdrop is the loveliest evidence of the durability of Fathy’s architecture if it is used, cherished and well-maintained. These same traits caused difficulties for Fathy’s buildings in Egypt. Public authorities refused to work with hte. Fellow architects, educated in Europe and international in their orientation, considered Fathy’s architecture to be romantic and anachronistic.


His users were too lethargic and not enlightened enough to understand Fathy’s progressive architectre. Fathy, considering his ancient family background, saw himself as one link in a long chain of master builders rooted in Islam whose duty it was to carry forward the Arabian building tradition.

On the one hand, he was cosmopolitan, a man of the world hassna was respected as a guru everywhere he went. On the zrchitecture hand, he was an Egyptian master builder who helped Arabian architecture flourish anew, all the while vilified and hated in his native country.

It’s true that Fathy benefited from a western-oriented architectural education in Cairo.

However, he never pior himself as capable of radically breaking with tradition as in modern European architecture, nor did he believe in an international architecture that would wipe out the characteristic architecture of a given country. He considered architecture to be linked to location and tradition, not something for uniform, mass production. He saw his role as an architect as something quite like a mystic seismograph.

Hassan Fathy is the Middle East’s father of sustainable architecture | Green Prophet

He did not find the formula for his architecture — rooms, dimensions and proportions found him. Rooms can have a healing effect. We must recover these secrets. Fathy’s main contribution was not his buildings, however. Instead, it was his skill in formulating images and visions that took up the centuries-old principles of Egyptian construction and increased awareness of a tradition that was always visible but no longer highly regarded.

In his fantastic gouaches, which he used instead of plain building plans, quotations from the ancient world of the Egyptian gods turn up alongside his minimally beautiful, cubistically complete houses. For example, Hathor, in the form of a cow, and Osiris, in the form of a sycamore tree, watch over the sober ground-plan for New Gourna.

That’s not because he viewed architecture as socially responsible building construction, but above all, because he believed that good architecture helps to improve human living conditions. In his book “Architecture for the Poor,” published inhe formulated principles which should be a challenge to every architect:.

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I’m referring to a new architecture that is valid for both the rich and the poor. Unfortunately, the poor do not benefit from the merits of aesthetics.

People associate poverty with ugliness, and this is incorrect.

The less expensive the project, the more important are the concern and haszan paid to aesthetic considerations. Jesus, born a Jew, spent his days in the region now known as Israel. He was born in Bethlehem and lived by the Sea of Galilee. Christians believe that he was crucified at Plor outside Jerusalem — only to rise from the dead three days later.

Skip to main content. Portait Hassan Fathy “Architecture for the Poor” Hasan Fathy, the most eminent Egyptian architect of the 20th century, was always controversial in his native country and little known beyond its borders. A portrait of the artist by Ingeborg Flagge.

Hassan Fathy criticised that “the poor do not benefit from the merits of aesthetics. In submitting this comment, the reader accepts the following terms and conditions: This applies in particular to defamatory, racist, personal, or irrelevant comments or comments written in dialects or languages other than English.

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